Kansas vs. West Virginia NCAA Basketball Picks: Look for Road Favorite to Keep Dominating the Big 12

Darin Zank

Monday, February 16, 2015 2:53 PM GMT

Monday, Feb. 16, 2015 2:53 PM GMT

The Big 12 starts this week off with a bang as 1st-place Kansas visits 4th-place West Virginia. Jayhawks, winners of seven of their last eight games, are short road favorites over the Mountaineers.

Jayhawks-Mountaineers Betting Odds
As of early Monday morning most of the college basketball betting market was listing Kansas at right around -2 for tonight's game, with a total of right around 148.

 

A Big 12 Scrum
Kansas is closing in on yet another Big 12 regular-season title; the Jayhawks have already won or shared the last 10 conference championships, and they're two games up on the rest of the field, with six to go.

Nine days ago Kansas lost at Oklahoma. But last Tuesday, much to our delight, the Jayhawks won at Texas Tech 73-51, covering as 12-point favorites. And Saturday they rallied to beat Baylor 74-64, covering at -7.

The Jayhawks trailed the Bears by 13 points right out of the gate Saturday, but slowly cut into the lead, and finally took over in the last five minutes of the game. Kansas shot 47 percent from the floor for the day, and made 24 of 29 free-throws, while holding Baylor to just 38 percent shooting.

At 21-4 overall, 10-2 in conference play Kansas leads the Big 12 by two games over second-place Iowa State, while chasing a good seed for the upcoming NCAA tournament.

West Virginia hasn't made the NCAA tournament the last two seasons, but coming into this season we gave the Mountaineers a better-than 50 percent chance of returning to the Dance. And while West Virginia has lost three of its last four it's still in pretty good shape, barring a complete collapse.

Saturday the Mountaineers lost at Iowa State 79-59, coming up empty against the spread as seven-point underdogs. West Virginia only trailed by four points at the half, but allowed the Cyclones to go on a 14-2 run out of the locker room, and never recovered.

The Mountaineers shot just 38 percent from the floor Saturday, and committed 19 turnovers, while allowing ISU to shoot a hot 57 percent.

Just before that West Virginia had beaten Kansas State 76-72; but just prior to that the Mountaineers lost back-to-back games to Oklahoma and Baylor by 19 and 18 points.

At 19-6 overall, 7-5 in conference play West Virginia sits in fourth place in the Big 12, three games behind Kansas but only a game out of second place.

The Jayhawks won the first three meetings between these programs after the Mountaineers joined the Big 12 two seasons ago, but West Virginia won the most recent meeting, last March, 92-86 in Morgan town.

 

Some Numbers
On the season Kansas is shooting 44 percent from the field, almost 41 percent from 3-point land, which ranks in the top ten in the nation, and 71 percent from the free-throw line. At the other end of the court the Jayhawks are holding opponents to just under 40 percent FG shooting.

West Virginia is shooting just 41 percent from the floor, less than 30 percent from 3-point range, which is terrible, and just 65 percent from the line. The Mountaineers are also allowing opponents to shoot 46 percent.

 

Betting Trends
Kansas is 12-10 on the OVER/UNDERS this season, as Jayhawks games have averaged 136 points.

West Virginia is 9-8 on the totals, as Mountaineers games have averaged 141 points.

 

Betting Verdict
Normally in a spot like this we might lean toward a team like West Virginia for a bounce-back effort, after getting dished last time out. But Kansas is the better team in this match-up, playing on the road, giving just a bucket. If this game were being played in Lawrence the Jayhawks might be favored by seven or eight points. We like the visitors tonight, consider adding them to your NCAA Basketball Picks.

Free College Basketball Pick: Kansas -1.5 at BetOnline

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